Indian cover from 1854 could deliver $110,000 in rare stamps sale

Spink, like many auction houses, is having a quiet August. But when it returns on September 25 it is doing so with a bang.

Peter Stolz's collection of rare stamps and covers is being offered in a 795-lot sale, with several lots expected to reach high five-figure and even six-figure sums.

The first eye-catching lot is an 1865 front to Manila, bearing 3 Indian 1856-64 black stamps (catalogued as '4a') in combination with 3 Hong Kong 1862-63 8c yellow-buff stamps, all neatly cancelled with circle of dots, showing a superb "labuan" datestamp alongside a Manila rate mark.

The exact reason for the combination is not known for certain - perhaps due to a shortage of stamps, or to encourage the letter to travel by a particular route. Regardless, it is unique, being the only known combination franking of Hong Kong and India stamps used in Labuan, and so listed at 80,000-100,000 Singapore dollars (US$58,700-73,400).

The most exciting item on offer, however, is a Penang cover using 1854 4a Indian stamps - the earliest to do so in the Straits Settlements.

Penang 1854 Indian stamp cover
Penang 1854 Indian stamp cover

Taken from the famous 'Heard' correspondence, with (New England businessman Mr Heard's correspondence which began in 1812 and used stamps as soon as they were available), the cover, addressed to Canton via Hong Kong bears a magnificent 4a second printing pair, both centrally cancelled by diamond of dots.

On the reverse, inkstamps indicate Penang/paid and a Hong Kong datestamp. The exhibition-grade piece - which would make a fantastic investment given the rising prices of Indian collectibles - is expected to bring S$100,000-150,000 (US$73,400-110,100).

The exciting sale will take place in Singapore on September 25, with online bidding available.


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